Friday, February 27, 2009

The "Spirit of Kigali!"


- High Level Retreat adopts “Kigali Spirit” towards a more efficient and effective regional organization -

EAC Headquarters, Arusha, 14 February 2009: A Strategy Retreat for Key Organs and Institutions of the East African Community was held in Kigali, Rwanda at the Serena Hotel on 9-10 February 2009. The Retreat, the first of its kind brought together the top leadership, Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Heads and Senior Officials of Government, EAC Organs and Institutions; and representatives of the business community and civil society. The Retreat was convened by H.E. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Chairman of the Summit of Heads of State of the East African Community who officially opened the Retreat on 9 February.

The Retreat was held against the background of deepening EAC integration with the ongoing operation of the Customs Union, which was established in 2005, and the advanced progress towards the establishment of the Common Market, which is expected to be in place by January 2010. The EAC recognizes the need to constantly keep a step ahead in maintaining harmonious working relations among its organs and institutions to meet the new challenges and expectations of regional integration within the fast evolving world economic and social order.

Over 100 participants attended the Retreat, including Ministers, Members of the EAC Council of Ministers, the Speaker and Members of the East African Legislative Assembly, Judge President, Principal Judge, Registrar and Senior Officers of the East African Court of Justice; the Secretary General and Deputies Secretary General of the East African Community, Heads of the EAC Institutions ( Inter-University Council for East Africa, Lake Victoria Basin Commission, East African Development Bank, Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization and the Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency) , Senior Government and EAC officials; representatives of the business community and civil society; and the Deputy Secretary General of the Commonwealth.

The Strategy Retreat with the theme “Collaborative Work Culture in the EAC organs and institutions for a Stronger East Africa”, focused on a review of the current operations of the EAC organs and institutions, sharing of views and insights on their effectiveness against their mandates under the EAC Treaty, which was signed in 1999; and drawing of lessons from other regional efforts in terms of collaborative work ethic among the EAC organs and institutions and between them and the Partner States.

In his Keynote Address to the Retreat, H.E. President Kagame said the vision of regional integration was a voluntary and dedicated political partnership based on pragmatic building blocks and time-bound milestones and targets. He said the organs and institutions of the Community should strive to improve their collaboration and strengthen their sense of shared purpose to perform better, individually and collectively, in order to realize the benefits of regional integration. He said that among the benefits of regional integration were larger markets, economies of scale, larger pools of human, financial, and physical capital. East Africa, he said, had the advantages of a rich legacy of socioeconomic, political and cultural interactions. He said these advantages should be consolidated by strong, first rate formal institutions embracing a learning attitude, continuously internalizing new knowledge, innovation and good practices to drive the East African integration process.

At the conclusion of the Retreat, the delegates made far reaching observations and recommendations under what they dubbed the “Kigali Spirit” that would guide the operations of the EAC organs and institutions to a more rapidly achieving regional organization in the new era.

In their recommendations, the delegates emphasized the need for a re-affirmation of commitment to the spirit of regional integration requiring deliberate efforts by the EAC Partner States, organs and institutions as well as civil society and business community to prioritize the regional integration agenda within their respective national agendas.

The delegates called for a professional and ethical re-orientation of the EAC establishment to build an East African spirit among the staff of the East African Community. The delegates proposed the establishment of an EAC Public Service Commission, EAC Parliamentary Service Commission and EAC Judicial Service Commission. They proposed the introduction of standard terms of service for staff of all the organs and institutions of the Community and institution of a system of motivation and rigorous performance evaluation of staff on the basis of undivided loyalty to the Community and contribution to the realization of its vision and mission.

The delegates called for streamlining and strengthening of internal and external communications of the EAC to involve systematic, continuous consultations among the Heads of the organs and institutions of the Community and structured regular meetings to plan, review, monitor, and coordinate their programmes and exchange views on the implementation of the regional projects and programmes. They proposed the establishment of a strengthened central public information and communications office at the EAC Secretariat that would coordinate dynamic public information flow from the organs and institutions of the Community, utilizing advanced communication media, including print and electronic media and the Internet.

The delegates proposed measures to ensure effective implementation of EAC decisions and to this extent the need to set up regional mechanism for monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of EAC Council of Ministers decisions at the regional and national levels; monitoring and evaluation of implementation of EAC Acts passed by EALA at the national levels; and establishment of clear political leadership and responsibility for regional projects and programmes by clarifying the role of the Council of Ministers , including assigning specific portfolios to the Members of the EAC Council of Ministers.

On Budget issues, the delegates proposed urgent review from the current system whereby of equal contribution by Partner States and over-reliance on external funding of regional projects to a more sustainable and self reliant sourcing of funds for regional projects and programmes.

The delegates resolved to sustain the “Spirit of Kigali” and, to this extent, proposed that the EAC Strategy Retreat be institutionalized into an annual event and include holding of quarterly meetings of the Heads of EAC organs and institutions, biannual meetings of the Heads of the organs and institutions of the Community with the Chairperson of the Summit; and establishment of a Task Force to follow up the implementation of the recommendations of the Kigali Retreat. The full report and recommendations of the Kigali Retreat will be submitted to the Council of Ministers and Summit of Heads of State for consideration and decisions.

With all this I am more puzzled and engulfed with questions and doubts as to the implications of the meeting. It seems more observations, recommendations, and propositions were made with no counterweight in substance to really address the nature of the meeting. While this was honorable gesture of having solidarity for common goals and a show of some level of commitment, I wonder when will we be able to come to grips with the peripheral issues that need to be at the forefront before all this can really be full scale and operational!

How can we have integration without uniformity of just the basic methods of governance? What can be implemented without the proper authority with effective power to actually execute those implementation since each country is more or less looking to it's own benefits and not responsibilities? And I also wonder if there's a misplaced commitment to the things that even though are important to the whole idea, are being neglected by other member states for the sake of appeasement and coexistance, for example Rwanda and Uganda involvement in DRC?


Bijoux said...

Dear January,

you know, as I was reading your post, I found myself reading faster and faster to get to your personal take of the meeting. I have to say, you did not desapoint me.
It is all well to want a better collaboration among african eastern countries, but what is the point of all that if some countries seem not to want to rely on plundering others in order to enrich themself. Is that the "spirit of kigali"? From what you said, there were many great men at this meeting; judges, ministers, presidents, and so forth. I find it sad and very disapointing to see that they would all be silent, seat and not denounce the plundering and slow take over of another country not only riches but also land, all in the name of "common market, free trade land" and peace.
European, american, and even asian countries have evolve without take over, why not us in Africa? If EAC authorities seat and watch this happen to the DRC, they should be sure that this will certainly happen to one of their country next.
I pray that all africans, especially those in authority would wake up and see that some are out to make their own personal gain and conceal it in the name "collaboration". I am indeed appalled.

Anonymous said...

For many years Tanzanians have been assured they could have a sovereign homeland and full membership of the EAC. We were lied to. It is now clear we can either go all the way with Rwandese,Ugandans and Kenyans to the East African-megastate, or have a self-governing JAMHURI YA MUUNGANO YA TANZANIA, but under no circumstances can we have both. They are now completely incompatible. Only fools and fanatics go on denying it. You must make up your mind. Which do you want?" Ohhh i will say it again, I am not ready to pay my taxes to a Rwandese or Kenyan whom i have no connection with whats so ever

They can stick with their EAC and we can remain with our Pemba and Unguja please spare us with Kigali spirit mumbo jumbo

Anonymous said...

Surely, we are not ready yet for complete EAC integration!, but we can always be inspired by our neighbours, take on their so called 'Kigali Spirit', and start tying our boot for the long marathon.

They show the way, we take on the steps to clean up our own house, till when, we will start be leading again?

and that is the good lessons to learn from them! ohh well there is always something to take away.

By Mchangiaji

Che Solasi said...

I think we sometimes get carried away with the advances that other regions have made over the years. Nevertheless, they also had a shaddy past that had to be overcome in a prolonged period of time. Americans for centuries had been expansionist even till today at some level, European also were masters in plundering others and subjecting others for their own ambitions and so to were Asians.
However, with all that I am not excusing our fellow brothers and sisters for their selfish and equally tyrannical ways of solving internal problems. In fact, I wonder why we as a more stable republic haven't vocally step to the plate and condemn such intorelable activities in these meetings? We as a more complete and peaceful nation don't assume our position as a major influence in the region and try to steer this thing in the direction of more unity, more security and more equality not just in economics but more so in social levels.

I see how clearly you feel about this issue. I guess for you hopes in this thing were dashed away long time ago. I agree that somethings are at this point almost incompatible, however that is another reason to push for the EAC provided other have sacrifice their blind ambitions. I don't think EAC could function correctly without JAMHURI, but I also think JAMHURI can not be sustain in long term without evolving into a deeper cooperations with our brothers and sisters. I don't think we can continue to live in isolation and fear of losing something from EAC without actually losing something because of that fear and isolation.

misokasick said...

Che Solasi
"However, with all that I am not excusing our fellow brothers and sisters for their selfish and equally tyrannical ways of solving internal problems. In fact, I wonder why we as a more stable republic haven't vocally step to the plate and condemn such intorelable activities in these meetings? We as a more complete and peaceful nation don't assume our position as a major influence in the region and try to steer this thing in the direction of more unity, more security and more equality not just in economics but more so in social levels"

Thanks my brother. Why can't we step up and make initiatives to restore peace in the East African Bloc. I do not see how we can be part of EAC without a guarantee of security from our neighbors. I have a hard time trusting any motives from neither Uganda nor Rwanda. Yes Rwanda might have achieved some level of stability, but it’s too early to rely on that level of stability. In fact when both Museveni and Mugabe spoke against United States of Africa, My husband, laughed so hard, ironically same leaders who are against peaceful transitions in their own countries are the first to oppose Ghadaffi. A leader such as Museveni is not worthy of my trust. He aspire so much to rule East Africa and his ulterior motive is to see himself the head of this Corp. No matter how eloquently Kagame might speak, he is also a gang star to be feared. I would really stay away from this dude.
Honestly we are not ready for this. Let us deal with our internal problems first then afterwards we can strategies on our other interests.

Yes spare us from Kigali's mumbo jambo as said by GT.
Ciao and Good weekend

Anonymous said...

When are we going to get it? How many more years do we need of "foreign experts" telling us what Africans need and how we should govern ourselves? - I amazed at the sense of hostility and resentment in the previous posts towards Rwanda.
Let us look at historical facts and not swallow biased information that is cleverly meant to keep us divided and misinformed. The infamous UN has done a number on this region by releasing conflicting messages (after 8 long years of failed operations in Congo with a 1.2 billion budget and a force of 18.000 peace-keepers!)about what was really going on in Congo these past traumatic years for the people who were fleeing untold misery at the hands of rebel groups including the interahamwe who left the worst record of killings since World War II ( funny I dont hear that much outrage about how they are responsible for the chaos and tyranny in the Congo and yet there is fast and harsh condemnation towards Rwandans who have managed to contain the unthinkable!). Fellow Africans, ask yourselves and be very honest with your answers..Do you really think that it is Africans benefitting from the minerals in Congo? Do you think Kabila is unaware of who is really plundering Mbugi Mayi mines? Do you know who contracts the Indian family owned charter planes that fly in Belgian/Israeli diamond dealers from Kinshasa into the mining regions?
I have been in these regions between Gisenyi, Goma and into the Rutshuru area - let me assure you that the "experts" who analyze and research on this subject and have never set foot there are nothing but arrogant and misinformed in their writings.
We in East and Central Africa will never move beyond our post-colonial mentality into the first world - where we can do our own research,create and innovate- from medicines to advanced technology in agri-business, to energy - technology and reforming our educational systems (so we are not subjecting our children to hours of colonial curriculum that will take you nowhere in this day and age..)
When are we going to understand that when the G7 meet in Davos or Aspen, WE are certainly not their priority or on their to-do list..We will never get it until we can get our facts right and not operate on what you "think" you know..If we cannot even get past one retreat that can set some kind of dialogue in motion then lets stop complaining when foreigners look at Africa as a hopeless case. Get informed and get involved - let us stop being monday morning quarter-backs that are so quick to judge when all you have done is sit in your cozy living room/office and assume you know...then again, we can let the Chinese come in and take over (Jamuhuri or none) while we still bicker over misinformation!

Iddy said...

Honest speaking the whole EAC movement doesn't make sense. I feel sad to sea that we are speanding to much time to construct this non sense. We're not supposed to make decisions based on ideology or politics, what we need is scientific debate, based on hard facts and evidence.

Do we real need EAC? What are the benefit behind it? What are challenges ahead? How can we overcome those challenges? How will EAC boost region economic development? How will EAC eradicate poverty in the region? All this questions and many others need some answers before we decide to construct EAC.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. I guess we're preparing to fail. I dont support EAC at this moment, i think more research and study of the matter is needed prior to any decesion.